Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra Live in The Django
Where The Django downstairs in the Roxy Hotel 2 6th Avenue New York, New York 10013
Jan 25, 2019
Jan 25, 2019
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The Dreamland Orchestra is authentic. Arenella transcribes by hand their entire repertoire from period recordings. Their delivery, as well as their instruments, attire, and equipment — are faithfully accurate. Arenella's strong yet vulnerable baritone lacks pretense or sarcasm. He treasures each lyric, and has faith in the songs he sings. Even the most optimisic Tin Pan Alley tune has a disarming quality in his hands.
Though certainly anachronistic, the orchestra's presence invokes the vibrations of something unmistakably timeless. While authentic to a "T", Michael Arenella prefers not to be labelled a recreationalist. He takes an antiquated template and infuses it with the immediacy of the present. Spontaneity is what gave the original music of the era its magic, and it is also the imprimatur of the Dreamland Orchestra.
His men are dapper dandies; hair pomaded and shoes shined. They are based in New York, which with London were the halcyon capitals of decadence. All of this allows them to capture the essence of what this music and times were all about: joy, romance, modernity, and possibility.
These are essential themes, just as valid today as eighty years ago. Ask the punk and heavy metal kids who end up liking the orchestra more than the bands they originally came to hear at the same venue. Truly, this music was the rock ‘n’ roll or punk of its day: rebellious, reckless, and in the eyes of the older generations, dangerous. The Dreamland Orchestra’s mission is to mine the forgotten yet vital beauty of the past and bring it into the light of today — to be danced and romanced to by a new generation of flappers and sheiks.